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Tour News (posted 26th August 1998)

Ballesteros to offer help to new Ryder Cup captain

Munich, Germany - Former European Ryder Cup captain Seve Ballesteros says he's ready to offer any help -- if asked -- to Mark James, who was named his successor this week.

"Mark has played several times and has watched other captains -- Brian Huggett, John Jacobs, Tony Jacklin, Bernard Gallacher and me," Ballesteros said today. "I am sure he will pick up the best from everybody. I wish him good luck."

"I was spoken to informally about who should be captain, but I said I didn't want to be involved in that because whoever I say I will automatically create enemies," the Spaniard said. "I am not going to give any advice here. If Mark asks anything I will give him answers, but to volunteer things through the newspapers is not fair."

Ballesteros, who gave up the captaincy after guiding Europe to victory over the United States at Valderrama in Spain last year, said he doesn't ever expect to take the job again.

"I have had no second thoughts about giving up the job and I don't think I will ever be captain again," he said. "I will never say never, but 99.9 percent is no for sure."

Looking back at his tenure, Ballesteros said there were some difficult times.

"When I was named captain I had one mission -- to win the Ryder Cup," he said. "That was achieved. There were a few disappointments along the way and a couple of bitternesses, but the mission was done."

Balleteros had said he wanted to concentrate on earning a place as a player on the European team for the 1999 Ryder Cup Matches at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. But that remains a long shot.

Ballesteros, 41, slumped to a career-low 136th place in the European Tour rankings last season. He has missed eight cuts this year and currently lies 118th.

"I want to play and to enjoy the game," he said. "If I do, I think I can make the team. But playing in the Ryder Cup is not my goal. I've played many times, been captain and been very proud of what I've done."